New Skyline Productions, Inc. is looking forward to showcasing a group of five diverse and high energy bands when it celebrates a tribute to the original Skyline Bluegrass Festival on Saturday, July 16, from 5 to 10 p.m. in the Amphitheatre located in Island Park at Ronceverte.
The original festival took place on the Blake Family mountaintop farm overlooking the Greenbrier River above the town of Ronceverte from 1976– 1985. This new 501(c)3 has been formed to bring this widely popular event back to the River City.
Ronceverte, an historical river and railroad community, has embarked on a well thought out restoration plan to transform the town into an important cultural and historical destination. Ramp Supper Band, back from a much too long sabbatical, will open the evening’s event at 5 p.m. This infamous group of wild leeks was formed back in the 1970s by a group of osteopathic physicians who were divinely guided to the Greenbrier Valley, along with one prolific female artist, and was fortunate to meet up with a true native West Virginian. The rest is history!
Current members appearing at the festival include David and Henrietta Crandall, Buffalo “Bob Foster” and WV’s celebrated son, Richard Hefner. Next in the lineup are newcomers to the national scene, Troubadour Blue (www.troubadourblue.com), an innovative trio comprised of siblings Brenna and Eli Wheeler of Nashville, TN, and Daniel Kim Ethridge of Austin, TX. They are known for “marrying the motifs of modern bluegrass with the poeticism found in Nashville’s songwriting scene.”
The next band up really needs no introduction. Multiple award winner and Mill Point, West Virginia native Richard Hefner and The Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys have been playing traditional bluegrass music for over 50 years across the eastern United States. Hefner plays banjo and sings all parts. Dave Bing plays guitar and fiddle and is well known and respected as a fiddle maker and instructor at the Augusta Heritage Center’s music workshops. Blaine Sprouse, fiddler extraordinaire, hails from the national music scenehaving played with Jimmy Martin, The Dreadful Snakes, Peter Rowan and many other great bands. “Black Mountain Bluegrass Girl” Joanna Burt-Kinderman was honored by WV Living magazine as a 2021 WV Wonder Woman. Joanna is a math coach in Pocahontas County and keeps this bunch together with her rock-solid bass playing. All hail from and are proud to be West Virginians.
Next up, Coaltown Dixie (www.coaltowndixie.com) is a classy, energetic all-female bluegrass band hailing from the Appalachian hills of East Kentucky. The band formed in 2009, taking their name from Dixie Hatfield, the grandmother of the band’s bass player and manager of a coal camp boarding house in East Kentucky. Thus far, the ladies have released three CD’s and a live performance DVD. Coaltown Dixie has been the recipient of a National Bluegrass B.O.R.N. (Bands On the Rise Nationally) Award, been featured as “Future Stars” in the U.S. 23 Country Music Highway Travel Guide, graced the cover of M.E., Music Entertainment magazine and have twice been nominated as Best Bluegrass Band for the Appalachian Arts and Entertainment Awards. Members include Kris Bailey Preston, Melanie Turner, Stephanie May Rose and Kalyn Bradford Bowen (www.coaltowndixie.com).
Topping the festival off is High Fidelity, known for directly drawing their influence from the classic era of bluegrass music history of the 1950s and ‘60s. High Fidelity is being hailed as a rising group whose love and devotion to that music is unsurpassed (www.highfidelitybluegrass.com). Formed in early 2014, the group received its first achievement with a first-place win in the International Band Championship at the 40th Annual Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) Awards in February of 2014. In 2019, they were nominated for International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) New Artist of the Year. The band consists of five outstanding musicians and singers who are steeped in the sounds of tradition. Members include Jeremy Stephens, guitarist and lead vocalist for the group, Corrina Rose Logston, fiddler and harmony vocalist; Kurt Stephenson handling banjo duties and harmony vocals; Vickie Vaughn, with upright bass and contributes vocals; and multi-instrumentalist and harmony vocalist Daniel Amick.
In addition, the festival is proud to present special guest violinist extraordinaire Adam DeGraff. Bring your family and lawn chairs to enjoy a true community gathering of bluegrass music lovers and friends. Admission is free but donations will be gladly appreciated at designated locations the day of the event. Food and beverages will be available for purchase from local vendors. Coolers are not permitted in the Amphitheatre. To ensure the enjoyment and health of all, attendees are kindly requested not to smoke in the Amphitheatre or nearby audience areas.